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Ranking Cultivated Blueberry for Mummy Berry Blight and Fruit Infection Incidence Using Resampling and Principal Components Analysis

Ehlenfeldt, Mark K., Polashock, James J., Stretch, Allan W., Kramer, Matthew
HortScience 2010 v.45 no.8 pp. 1205
Vaccinium, blueberries, Sclerotinia vaccinii-corymbosi, plant pathogenic fungi, fungal diseases of plants, disease course, signs and symptoms (plants), plant tissues, genotype, disease resistance, genetic resistance, developmental stages, germplasm screening, cultivars, germplasm, plant genetic resources
Mummy berry disease of blueberry has two distinct phases: a blighting phase that infects emerging shoots and leaves early in the spring and a flower infection phase that ultimately leads to infected (mummified) fruit. Cultivated blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) genotypes that are resistant to one phase are not necessarily resistant to the other phase. The resistance of cultivated blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) genotypes to each phase of the disease is different. A large number of cultivars were screened for resistance to each phase. Cultivar standards (cultivars with well-documented responses to the disease) were used in the screening to evaluate long-term variation and aid comparisons across years. Using nine standards for the blight phase, 125 cultivars were tested and ranked for relative resistance using a ranking system based on resampling and principal component analysis. Similarly, using six standards for the flower/fruit infection stage, 110 blueberry cultivars were tested and ranked for relative resistance. Cultivar rankings show that lowbush cultivars and other types possessing high percentages of lowbush germplasm are generally more resistant to both phases of the disease. Among highbush cultivars, Bluejay is reliably resistant to both phases. Documentation of resistance to each phase will allow selection of cultivars for planting in affected areas and will facilitate the development of breeding strategies to produce cultivars with superior resistance.